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has been running for longer than that. barack obama and mitt romney are both nearing the end of intense debate prep, and coaching sessions. and at this point, they're designed either to create or prevent that moment that we've all seen that can somehow change the race. and with millions of americans watching these debates like a kind of super bowl of american politics, the stakes are high as the two men face each other in denver, just two days from now. we begin tonight with nbc's andrea mitchell in our d.c. newsroom. andrea, good evening. >> good evening, brian. it is the political super bowl, or perhaps the world series. mitt romney, behind in all battleground polls for the last three weeks, now has the most to gain from a game-changing night. and the most to lose if he doesn't turn it around. as the candidates head to debate camp, rolling up their sleeves, getting down to work, each claims to be the underdog. >> governor romney, he's -- he's a good debater. i'm just okay. >> he plays, barack obama, he plays them well, too. i hate to tell you. >> reporter: mitt romney pract
. every day for us. >>> let's move to politics now. president obama and mitt romney are fine-tuning their message to voters with the first presidential debate one week away. chuck todd is nbc's political director and chief white house correspondent. chuck, good morning to you. >> reporter: well, good morning, savannah. no swing state has been harder for mitt romney to gain traction in than ohio. it's why he's got this bus trip this week, trying to get it back into play. the president is heading it there today to try to put the state away. it's why they are both there this morning. >> it is time to get the real refs, and you know what, it reminds me of president obama and the economy. if you can't get it right, it's time to get out. >> reporter: barnstorming through ohio, the republican ticket is hoping their bus tour will make up lost ground as more polls show mitt romney trailing president obama in this pivotal swing state. in dayton tuesday romney hammered mr. obama on taxes. >> one idea, i admit, one thing he did not do in his first four years which he said he'll do in the
. their relationship has been tense, even frosty, an issue that mitt romney has tried to exploit. >> they have thrown israel under the bus. >> i have executed on my foreign policy, one that people largely agree with. so if governor mitt romney is suggesting we should start another war, he should say so. >> reporter: still unclear, how much of today's tough talk is meant to do something sanctions have not achieved, get iran to negotiate. savannah. >> all right, how close is iran to the point of no return? there is a big difference between american intelligence and israel's view, the u.s. feels there is at least a year, and no need to take action quickly. israel wants it to be quicker and for the u.s. to be involved. >>> meanwhile, on the campaign trail, the candidates were shadowing each other in a crucial swing state, this time, virginia, chief correspondent chuck todd has more. >> reporter: good evening, savannah, the presidential campaign, of course is focused on nine states where the polls are close. and every year, one state stands out from the rest, in 2004, it was florida, ohio, more and more,
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